Experimental Groovetube Plasma Synthesizer Now Available Via Kickstarter

Developer Tom Hardiment has launched a Kickstarter project to fund production of the Groovetube plasma synth.

Audio is generated by a plasma instability inside a fluorescent tube, which you can control and shape with a magnet.

Hardiment says “It’s a bit like a theremin crossed with a 303, dunked in a bucket of drippy/splintery plasma…”

Here’s what they have to say about the Groovetube:

“We are releasing this first-generation machine for people to try out a new way to make noise. It is a sort of proto-instrument – an experimental machine to be experimented with!

Having machines out in the world will help explore what is possible, as there is a lot of unexplored territory here – we don’t have much audio equipment, and have tried a dozen or so tubes. By making these machines available now, we hope to not only fund further development but also let collective experimentation inform its direction.”

Update: The developer shared some additional videos, demoing the latest version of the Groovetube design:

Pricing and Availability:

The Groovetube is available to project backers for £699 (about $842 USD).

Note that crowdfunded projects involve risk. See the project site for details.

18 thoughts on “Experimental Groovetube Plasma Synthesizer Now Available Via Kickstarter

  1. Starts with wet farts! I am so totally sold! They should have named it the cropduster! Gonna harmonize with it if I see it at superbooth.

  2. All you lil farts on here will watch a Hainbach video in like 3 weeks and then pay 5k for one of these.

  3. Who wants to pay 850,- to be part of the seemingly clueless experimental course (see the little nugget about what their kickstarter is all about) they’ve set out? Sure, there’s always people who got money to burn. Or friends. But for the rest of us, this seems like a really awful thing to get into. And I don’t even have to watch / listen to the video, because the comment section is unanimous in what’s going on here.

  4. Glad this is causing amusement, we laughed a lot when we first heard it too!
    I will add Cropduster to the list… 🙂
    More seriously, we really don’t know what can be done with fluorescents yet – let alone custom tubes with simpler electrodes and different dimensions. The similarity between some of these sounds and those made by brass/wind instruments suggests design can influence the output significantly, but we won’t know until we try.
    I’m currently upgrading the control system, so should have more sounds to share soon.

  5. If I was that rich I wouldn’t even twitch at seeing that kind of pirce tag, I would defo get one for the cool retro-futuristic look of it. However, I would not even turn it on, I’d probably use it as a nice decorative gimmick in my studio besides my Moog Modular IIIc (I’m quite rich in this daydream, remember?)..

  6. omg I srsly haven’t laughed so hard in weeks, thank you synthtopia community.

    that said, it is pretty cool tech. I used to build vacuum tube audio circuits, so it’s hard to not appreciate what this thing is and what went into designing / building it.

  7. Serious question… what would happen if you broke the fluorescent tube (the magnet) while it was on / full of plasma?

    1. Hi there is hardly any gas inside the tube, so it would cause an implosion rather than an explosion. The tube itself is inside a perspex shield, so a bit of glass to clear up would be all…

  8. Our new control board is now programmed and about to be installed – watch this space for further bizarre (possibly amusing) sounds!
    And thanks for the comments, please keep them coming 🙂 I’ll put the best/worst up on our site, and if I get a minute I’ll make a special-interest video for the synthtopia massive..

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